PHILADELPHIA — Zack Wheeler’s season, which began in the minors and ends as by far the best of his career, might be over.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Monday that the Mets will discuss shutting Wheeler down because of workload concerns. From 2015-17, Wheeler threw 87 1/3 innings. This year, he is up to 187 1/3 after tossing seven innings of four-run ball in a 9-4 win over the Phillies.
“We want to make sure we’re taking care of the player,” Callaway said.
Wheeler, while noting that he feels fine physically, acknowledged the decision isn’t his.
“That’s not my call. I’m leaving that up to them,” Wheeler said. “I’m still feeling good and my legs are under me, so it’s something I think we all have to sit down and talk about it.
Wheeler sent up a red flag last week when he reported physical fatigue, opting not to go back out after finishing eight innings against the Marlins after 89 pitches. Callaway said the Mets weren’t sure whether those issues — including a velocity drop — were due to the six-hour rain delay or Wheeler’s huge innings jump catching up to him.
Monday provided some relief.
“We were monitoring throughout the game. Everything looked pretty good,” Callaway said. “We’re going to continue to talk to him and see how he comes in [Tuesday] and probably sit down as a group and see if we have a decision to make even if he does feel good because of the innings, but we’re going to do everything we can do take care of him.”
Wheeler said he felt better against the Phillies “for the most part.”
“I had my legs today and felt good,” he said. “Velo pretty much stayed put for the whole game, so it was nice.”
After opening with four no-hit innings, Wheeler allowed Philadelphia four runs in the fifth — and finished the night with three hit batsmen, which Callaway chalked up to him pitching inside and just happening to catch a couple of guys.
With a 3.31 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP — and a newfound ability to regularly pitch deep into games — Wheeler can consider his mission accomplished if Monday marked the end of his season.
“For the most part, it’s been pretty smooth. That’s the biggest key,” Wheeler said. “I’ve said that since spring training. That’s the key this year, to stay healthy and get innings. I’ve been able to do that.”